China Tells Citizens to Avoid Travel as They Might Be Unable to Return Home Due to COVID

The Chinese government is ramping up its COVID-19 prevention strategies and warned citizens against traveling as they might not be able to return due to an outbreak of cases across the country.

China said that if an individual has traveled to a region or city where a COVID-19 outbreak occurred, they potentially might not be allowed back home, the Associated Press reported.

After a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, China has increased travel restrictions ahead of the Winter Olympics, which begin in early February. USA Today reported that China has banned dozens of recent and future international flights after passengers on flights in late December tested positive for COVID-19, according to industry officials.

The U.S., Canada, Europe, Indonesia and other countries are currently banned from flying into China, AP reported. The flights China is still accepting from other countries must not be more than 75 percent full.

Passengers heading to China are required to have a negative COVID-19 test ahead of their flight and test negative again upon arrival, USA Today reported. China might force airlines with passengers who tested positive for the virus to cancel anywhere from two to four flights, depending on how many people were infected.

Hong Kong International Airport is enacting travel restrictions for 150 countries and territories in an attempt to control the highly contagious Omicron variant, AP reported.

Passengers who in the past 21 days visited places that are considered as "high risk," including parts of Europe and the United States, will be banned from entering Hong Kong from January 16 until mid-February.

China has placed a dozen cities on lockdown in attempts to get control of the increasing number of cases, primarily driven by the fast spreading Omicron variant.

The city of Tianjin's 14 million residents were placed on lockdown after officials reported 126 cases, all from the Omicron variant, AP reported.

The National Health Commission said Tianjin found 21 new domestically transmitted symptomatic cases on Sunday, Reuters reported. The city on Saturday will begin a third round of mass testing to "resolutely prevent the virus spreading to other provinces, regions, and cities, especially Beijing," the city government said in a letter to its residents on Monday.

China has been concerned over the uptick in cases in Tianjin as it's just an hour from Beijing. According to AP, travel between the host city of Bejing and Tianjin has been completely cut off in attempts to stop the spread of cases ahead of the Olympics.

Across mainland China, 97 new symptomatic cases were reported Sunday, up by five cases from the day before. Sixty cases were found in Henan, Reuters reported.

China Warns Against Traveling
Chinese officials warned citizens to avoid traveling unless it's absolutely necessary as they can't guarantee they'll be allowed to return home. The country is struggling to handle an increase of COVID-19 cases largely due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Jade Gao/ AFP/Getty Images